SHAL Staff Goes The Extra Mile for Homeless Client

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Sight Restored For Christmas

In early December, SHAL Case Manager Amy Yancich asked for permission to take several full days to drive an unsheltered homeless client, whose street name is “Porter,” to Miami for a series of visits to ophthalmologists and laser surgeons in order to get him sight-restoring cataract surgery. Porter’s vision had become so poor he was left essentially blind on the streets of Key West, unable any longer to make his way to the SHAL Emergency Shelter on Stock Island. Because there was limited assistance available in the Keys, Amy was referred to a specialist at a hospital in Miami. She spent many hours on the phone getting Porter approved for Medicaid, making the needed appointments and other arrangements.

When SHAL Shelter Director Mike Tolbert heard about the project, he offered to do one of the trips, in addition to shuttling Porter around town prior. Amy and Mike got up at 2 am each of their travel days to drive Porter to his early morning appointments. SHAL Case Manager Channing Lamar and SHAL Outreach Director Elicia Pintabona covered Amy’s shifts during the very long days.

On Friday, December 18th, Amy made the third trip, driving the client up and back from his surgery, arriving back in Key West after an 18-hour day. Porter’s vision was largely restored in one eye. The other will be scheduled soon.

The Southernmost Homeless Assistance League is completely in awe of the many extra miles our staff literally drove to help one of our clients, and at this time of year, Porter is especially excited to see the Christmas lights in the city for the first time in a long time.

For more information, please contact SHAL Executive Director John Miller at 502.876.5092 or [email protected].

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